September 7th, 1912
FROM THE ARCHIVES:The political tide flowing towards Home Rule carried a wave of patronage which involved the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Aberdeen, and his wife who were accused by The Irish Times of abandoning established patterns of public service promotions to favour their new nationalist friends. The paper returned to the subject in this editorial. – JOE JOYCE
OUR article on “The Viceregal Régime” has provoked the indignation of the Nationalist Press. We are accused of prejudice against the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen. We are told our only objection to jobbery under the present Irish Executive is it is not jobbery in favour of Unionists. The official Nationalist Press owes so much to the patronage of this Executive it could hardly have spoken otherwise. [...] Our article paid a high tribute to Lady Aberdeen’s work in the interests of Irish health [in building controversial sanatoriums, notably at Peamount] and industry. We said, however, and we repeat, her overpowering zeal in these interests has led her to make an abnormal and mischievous use of the machinery of Irish Government. The result is a general state of insecurity in the public services. When an important post becomes vacant candidates no longer calculate on competition from within the service: they try to find out if the post is likely to tempt any member of the Viceregal entourage.
We did not complain that honours have been conferred on “persons in sympathy with National aspirations.” We accept the rough and ready rule of party government – the “ins” favour their political friends, and the “outs” must possess their souls in patience. We have no complaint to make against the present Government in one department of patronage. Fortune has enabled it to be signally generous to its political friends at the Irish Bar; but these promotions have been made without injustice to any public servant. We do complain of the new practice by which outsiders whom a communion of work or sympathy has brought into association with the Viceregal Lodge are promoted over the heads of Civil Servants of long standing. [...] The Nationalist argument is there must be jobbery as long as British rule obtains in this country, and perfect purity in Irish administration will only come with Home Rule. But what do we find today? Mr Redmond boasts that, for all practical purposes, Ireland is now in the enjoyment of Home Rule. The country, he has pointed out, is governed from the central office of the United Irish League, and Mr [Joe] Devlin [Nationalist MP for West Belfast] is the real Chief Secretary. If the Nationalist argument be true, jobbery should have ceased out of the country with Mr Devlin’s access to power. The melancholy fact is jobbery and favouritism have never been more flagrant in Ireland. The story of recent appointments under the Insurance Act is familiar to all Irishmen. We have every right to assume the political jobbery will continue and will be aggravated if, and when, Home Rule confers larger opportunities on the de facto rulers of Ireland.